Quake Relief Begins in Costa Rica
SAN JOS'E, COSTA RICA
UNITED Nations and United States helicopters were evacuating the last of those injured Wednesday after a major earthquake struck the Caribbean coasts of Costa Rica and Panama. A US Air Force C-130 transport carried food to the port of Lim'on. The port was cut off by road after the earthquake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, shook the area Monday afternoon.
Costa Rican President Rafael Angel Calder'on said Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina also had promised to send canned food as part of relief efforts.
A Red Cross spokesman said 46 people had been killed in Costa Rica in the quake and more than 350 injured. In Panama, officials at the Civil Protection Agency said 29 had died.
Local scientists said Monday's earthquake had lifted the coastline up to four feet in places, pushing the sea out up to 300 yards.
They said it had changed the line of Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, exposing parts of a coral reef that once lay below water.
Lim'on, Costa Rica's biggest port, with a population of about 50,000, was without electricity and drinking water was scarce.
Fire department spokesman Rodolfo Ruiz, supervising cleanup operations in Lim'on, told Reuters it would take up to a week to restore electricity to the area.
``There could be a problem with fires as we start to turn it back on,'' he said.
The US Geological Survey reported a ``moderate'' aftershock Wednesday afternoon at a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 on the Richter scale.